What can you do to improve sustainability in remote work?
More than a year after the Covid-19 virus forced the world into lockdown, a new variant and rising infection rates in Europe are once again pushing people toward remote work.
The pandemic led many companies to implement remote working to avoid workplace contagion. Now, employees that have enjoyed this flexibility in the past year expect to maintain it, at least partially, in the future. And with seemingly unending waves of large-scale Covid-19 infections, it appears remote work is here to stay.
In terms of sustainability, working from home presents a very clear benefit in avoiding the daily commute and the carbon footprint that goes with it. It is estimated that carbon dioxide emissions from transportation dropped by 15% during lockdown.
But remote working is not necessarily as good for the environment as it seems, since it also involves spending a lot of energy on lighting, heating or air conditioning, electronic equipment and many other resources needed to work comfortably from home. One report found that weekday home electricity consumption increased by 20% in the UK during lockdown.
A growing environmental awareness has pushed people to develop new habits at home in recent years, such as avoiding waste or reducing energy consumption. For remote work to be more environmentally friendly than office work, these habits need to continue when home becomes the office.
So, how can we ensure energy efficiency when working remotely?
Reduce energy use
The first thing that can be done to reduce the monthly expenditure is to regulate the room temperature to 20ºC in winter and 26ºC in the summer season, comfortable temperatures that don’t require too much energy.
Another measure is to switch to low-consumption or LED light bulbs in the house, which is positively reflected in the electricity bill at the end of the month.
Choose natural light
Make the most of natural light by raising the blinds, opening the curtains and choosing light colours for the walls. This will ensure that you benefit from what the planet naturally offers and avoid putting too much pressure on its resources.
Smart Houses: technology as an ally
Smart homes are synonymous with monitoring, which can help you know when and where your energy is being spent. With this visibility, you can implement easy changes with a big impact on your energy consumption.
If you have devices with a certain autonomy, it is best not to have them always plugged in. Once the battery is charged, disconnect them and keep working until you need to charge them again.
If you don’t use it, turn it off
In most homes and offices, extension cords and plugs are used to connect various devices to the power grid. Once you have finished your work day, don’t forget to turn off the main switch to avoid consuming unnecessary energy.
Renewable energy sources
If you have a choice, switch to a renewable energy provider: make the most of renewable energy sources such as solar panels or windmills. You can also implement efficient heating systems such as underfloor heating, and set up energy recycling systems in your home.
There are always ways to be more sustainable in our everyday life. Now that you know how to reduce your impact in remote work, we encourage you to do it in other areas of your life.